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UPDATE: Colonial Heights superintendent out after emergency meeting

Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 17, 2023

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- The Colonial Heights School Board voted unanimously during an emergency meeting Friday to part ways with Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe. While the final vote was public, the discussion that led to it took place in private and the school board did not elaborate on the reason why they decided to oust Sroufe.

"Unfortunately, I can't answer that question until the final agreement is signed," school board chair Steven Neece said.

Sources told WTVR CBS 6 there were several factors that played into the decision to part ways with Sroufe, which came on the heels of a CBS 6 Investigation into the way the school system handled a scandal involving the former Colonial Heights High School softball coach.

Colonial Heights Schools Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe
Colonial Heights Schools Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe

When asked to comment about the vote, Sroufe referred to a joint statement that was part of a separation agreement with the Colonial Heights School Board:

This week, the Colonial Heights School Board has come to a mutual separation agreement with Dr. William Sroufe, the division superintendent.  Dr. Sroufe will be taking a leave of absence beginning this Saturday, February 18, and ending on June 30, 2023, when his official tenure as superintendent will come to a close. 

The school board will soon begin the search for a new superintendent and appoint an interim superintendent to manage the day-to-day operations in the meantime.

We would like to thank Dr. Sroufe for his many contributions to our division, including keeping our schools open during the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding instructional opportunities with Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, and refining best practices in the science of reading.  He oversaw updates to our playgrounds, message boards, HVAC systems, window packages, and security measures, as well as improvements to the fine arts wing of the high school. 

Dr. Sroufe’s administrative team also brought in more than a million dollars in competitive grants and improved our ranking in the Commonwealth on SOL performance.

Jeff Faries Investigation

Alicia Allen firstspoke to Melissa Hipolit last year for a series of investigative reportsconcerning inappropriate conduct allegations against Jeff Faries, the former softball coach and the city’s former police chief. The accusers were some of Faries’ players.

Faries retired as chief last April, one month after the city put him on administrative leave pending a state police investigation into accusations made by several of his former players.

Ultimately, a special prosecutor said she believed there was evidence that a crime, or crimes, were committed by Faries when he was coach. But no charges were filed because the statute of limitations had passed.

Allen, a former assistant softball coach, said she repeatedly complained to the athletic director about Faries’ treatment of her and the girls on the team. But she claimed nothing was done and that her concerns were brushed under the rug.

Fmr. Colonial Heights softball coach claims school system brushed her concerns about Jeff Faries 'under the rug'

IN-DEPTH: Ex-Colonial Heights softball coach says school system brushed concerns about Jeff Faries 'under the rug'

Allen said that if the school system had taken her complaints seriously, perhaps the statute of limitations would not have run out.

"I was relieved it felt like for the first time in two years they were finally doing something," Allen said. "It's been rough. It's taken my love for the game and for coaching in general."

Mother Terri Grubb and Allen said they hoped the board will also consider taking action regarding other personnel.

"Now there is a couple more that need to go that were just as responsible, and I hope they hold them accountable as well," Grubb said.

Sroufe, who was not present at Friday's meeting, previously contested Allen's comments and said there was no record of her complaints. He also said allegations that the school system engaged in a cover-up were disappointing and inaccurate.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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